In the healthcare system, patient data has become the norm for health management, assessment, and improvement. The aggregate patient data spanning numerous metrics has many applications within the hospital, clinical, and pharmaceutical environments. However, with the mHealth revolution, what constitutes patient data is changing quickly. Few years ago, patient data could simply mean demographics, episode-based data, visit-based vitals, list of symptoms & conditions, list of medications, etc. The data was static – unshifting, unchanging, nurse & doctor input during visits.
Further changes in technology, specifically mobile technology, opened doors to dynamic data – regularly updated patient-generated health data (quantitative and qualitative). This new dynamic data provides a more intimate picture of the patient health status and patient trends. Mobile apps allow patients to follow-up with doctors and engage in their health goals. Patients can actively partake in their health management by following care protocols, provide feedback surveys, input vitals status, and other related activities.
This shift in data means (see figure below), a better picture with more colors can be painted providing a view of patient’s daily health status thus allowing for better patient health mapping. Knowing what is happening to the patient when it is happening and intervening at the right time leads to better health outcomes reducing readmission.
Data has progressed one step further – patient habits, patient compliance, patient behavioral patterns can be mapped to provide even a more sophisticated picture of each patient monitored. Such complex data is aggregated thru the various means – chiefly EHR and mHealth apps. The three-tier data is evolutionary, growing per technological advancements. Currently, the market is growing in the second tier of patient data with technologies emerging in the third-tier phase.
As technological innovations continue to enter the market, how and what type of data is gathered will continue to change. Being in constant flux, healthcare system will have to face a monumental task of staying abreast with data evolution and mobile technology to develop meaningful solutions from data. There is no limit to what innovation can do, however implementing the innovations is a great challenge.